Rafi Naushad Era, The Initial Years
This article is written by Mr. Nitish Sinha
Rafi Naushad combination is the best thing that happened in the world of Hindi film Music.Rafi as the best playback singer ever and Naushad as the the best ever Music Director(sorry, if someone has objection in accepting him as best MD), and the combination of both resulting some of the best ever songs of HFM. This combination started their magic in 1944 with the song HINDUSTAN KE HUM HAI for the film Pahle Aap and climax was with the song JIS RAAT KE KHWAB AAYE in 1980 for the ever incomplete film Habba khatoon.
It is ironical to note that the magic of Naushad saab came to an end after the departure of Rafi Saab. It does not means that Naushad saab’s ability to compose marvellous songs came to an end after 1980 but actually nobody was there to sing his composition in the perfect way as Rafi Saab usually does.
THE TORTUROUS SONG
During his struggle period someone introduce Rafi saab to the father of Naushad Ali. Impressed by his singing, Naushad’s father sent Rafi to his son with a letter mentioning that he is a meritorious boy. Naushad saab did not turn down the request and allow him singing a chorus type song with Durrani, Shyam kumar, Allauddin, motiram etc for the film Pehle Aap(1944).
The song “hindostan ke hum hai hindostan humara, hindu muslim dono ki ankhoN ka tara“vwas to be picturised on Soldiers. As there was lacking technical facilities those days, it was decided that sound of the boots of the soldiers will be created originally.
Therefore all the singers was made to wear heavy army boots in their foot and they are asked to sing the song as well as to tap their foot as soldiers at the same time! Rafi Saab was only 19 years old at that time and his leg was badly damaged.
The song was recorded and Rafi Saab got Fifty rupees as his first earning. But this was just the begining of the journey! Rafi saab recorded two more songs for this film.
MOST HAPPY MOMENTS FOR RAFI SAAB
Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore, Lata all were great admirer of Sehgal and all of them have a dream of singing with him. However only Rafi Saab get this golden opportunity. Rafi always asked Naushad to allow him to sing a song with Sehgal. This dream of singing with Sehgal came into reality at the time of recording of the song “Ruhi ruhi ruhi mere sapno ki rani” (Lyric by Majrooh Sultanpuri) for the film SHAHJEHAN(1946) when two line of the song is sung by him. It is interesting to note that these two lines was picturised on Rafi Himself! Naushad always mentioned that he never sees Rafi saab so much happy as he was at the time of recording of this song with Sehgal.
“BEGINING OF ACTUAL PLAYBACK.”
Playback singing is just not about singing like ghazal. Actually ADAYAGI=TO MOULD YOUR VOICE ACCORDING TO THE MOOD OF THE SONG AND ALSO ACCORDING TO THE STYLE OF THE CHARACTER ON WHICH THE SONG IS TO BE PICTURISED- is most important part of it.
Sehgal saab was a master of it but he was not a playback singer as most of the song sung by him was picturised on himself. Therefore it was not tough for him to catch the mood of the artist. Actually Rafi saab invented it, mixing the song with Adayagi… and the song was TERA KHILAUNA TOOTA BALAK TERA KHILAUNA TOOTA (Anmol Ghadi, 1946 , Mehboob Production, Naushad ,Tanvir Naqvi).
After using many a times Rafi Saab’s voice as a chorus Naushad saab came to the conclusion that his voice need something more than it. TERA KHILAUNA TOOTA…… was first solo sung by him for Naushad Ali. This song was not picturised on the hero of the film but on a Toy-seller but one can find all the characteristic of a toy seller in the Voice of Rafi Saab. This was the actual begining of the PLAYBACK SINGING!
YE ZINDGI KE MELE
from Mela(1948) was another milestone…. Rafi saab was already a established singer in 1948 but Naushad Ali did not yet switch over completely to Rafi Saab. Actually there were 12 songs in this film (sung by Rafi, Shamshad, Zohrabai and Mukesh) and only one song was sung by Rafi.
But this one song was enough for him to show his range, his height, his aalap, his taan. This song was something different from Naushad’s earlier compositions and it seems that he composed this song just to test and taste Rafi’s range!
And HE pass this test with distinction! Ye zindgi ke mele (lyric:Shakeel) along with Ek dil ke tukde hazar hue (Pyar ki jeet;1948;husnalal bhagatram;Qamar jalalabadi) grasp the entire nation with Rafimania in 1948 and then forever!
In 1949 four films, Andaz, Chandani Raat, Dillagi and Dulari, were released in which music scored by Naushad sahab. In Dillagi, Rafi Saab sung two solo. Actually this was the first time when Naushad used his voice for the main lead.
The songs were Is dunia me ai dilwalo dil ka lagana khel nahi Ulfat karna khel hai lekin karke nibhana khel nahi and Tere kuche mein armano ki dunia leke aaya hoon Tujhi par jaan dene ki tamanna leke aya hoon, both songs were filmed on Shyam kumar. These two song have somethin special for myself. These are the songs which made me A Rafian forever.
In Chandani Raat Rafi sings at least three songs, again filmed on Shyam.
However in Andaz, Naushad uses rafi’s voice for just one song (yu to aapas me bigadte hai khafa hote hai/milne wale kabhi ulfat me juda hote hai) and this was a duet with Lata. This was the first duet of Rafi and Lata under Naushad Ali. Unique thing of this film was that mukesh’s voice was used for Dilip Kumar and Rafi playbacked for Raj Kapoor! In later year this arrangement was reversed, Mukesh became a regular playback for Raj Kapoor and Rafi for Dilip Kumar!
Mohd Rafi and Naushad
SUHANI RAAT DHAL CHUKI
This song is easily the first international hit from HFM. This song was became so much popular outside India that a number of myth became associated with this song.
It was believed to be the national song of a west indian country(trinidad n tobago/ surinaam) because of its immense poplarity untill recently. Even some of the journalists made a research to find the reality. Can one imagine any other song so much popular even outside India? Surely not.
This song was Rafi’s all time favourite. It was filmed on Suresh. There were some other popular songs in this film, sung by Rafi Saab with Lata: Raat rangili mast nazare …n mil mil ke gayenge.. but the popularity of Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki is unparellal. This tune was lifted by several MDs and used in almost all major South Indian languages, all attaining huge popularity.
It is indeed first and last film in which Naushad used the voice of Talat Mehmood prominently. Actually after this film Naushad used the voice of Talat only on two occassions; for the duet KAISI HASEEN AAJ (AADMI) with Rafi Sahab and another for multisinger song RAHEGA JAHAN ME TERA NAAM (Rafi,Talat, manna,Balbir for the film Love and God). However for KAISI HASEEN, Talat’s voice was replaced by Mahendra kapoor in film version!
No doubt, Talat Saab was a great singer, but it is said that once Naushad saw him smoking in the studio and so he decided to cut of his relation with him.
However the major reason for not choosing him was clearly that Naushad sahab at last found a singer who can sing any type of song with full masterly: from ‘Tara ri tara ri yara ri‘ type to ‘man tadpat‘ to ‘na mai bhagwan hoon‘ to ‘mere mehboob‘ to ‘nain lad jayeehen‘ to ‘ye gotedaar lehanga!‘
Anyway there are 12 songs in this film, sung by Rafi, Talat, Shamshad and Lata. Rafi Saab’s voice is used in one song, NADIA ME UTHA HAI SHOR CHHAI HAI GHATA GHANGHOR (co sung by Talat, Shamshad and chorus). One of the reason for using the voice of Talat in this film was the Hero of this film Dilip Kumar was associated with his voice till some years.
The reason of using the voice of Rafi for that one song was that it was the stablished fact at that time that “every film must contain a song in the high pitch sung by MOHAMMED RAFI”. Naushad Sahab once told that every producer started directing their music directors to put a high pitch song in the voice of Rafi as a must!
DEEDAR(1951) & DEEWANA(1952)
And at last RAFI-DILIP-NAUSHAD magic got started which continued till 1968 venture AADMI. This was the first film in which Naushad saab uses the voice of Rafi saab for Dilip saab for all the songs and every song of this film was nothing else than than the best! Three immortal solos HUE HUM JINKE LIYE BARBAAD, NASEEB DAR PE TERE and MERI KAHANI BHULNEWALE, one duet with lata, DEKH LIYA MAINE and also the short one BACHPAN KE DIN BHULA NA DENA. G.M.Durrani, who was among the top singers in 1944, and a Naushad favourite, got the second fiddle with the only song, a duet with shamshad NAZAR PHERO NA HUMSE.
In DEEWANA, Rafi saab sung one song TASVEER BANATA HOON, picturised on chandrasekher, for whom Rafi saab sung a number of great songs.
THE QUEST FOR THE BEST
At this time, Rafi Saab was already the most sought after singer, however he was still not satisfied with his performance, as naushad saab said,- “Rafi those days used to feel concerned that, though singing extensively, he had not been able to create the same impact as Talat Mehmood or Mukesh. ‘Well, here’s your chance“, I said. ‘This Baiju Bawra theme offers you the kind of vocal challenge which, if you meet, you will find yourself made for life.‘ Of course in saying that, I could not know, at the time, that the film would become an all-time musical classic”. And he was certainly reffering the film BAIJU BAWRA, each song of which is a separate story in itself……..!